What makes Broken Bells such a compelling body of work is undeniably the result of the broad range of sounds that fill its palette. Although there are instances whereby each of the two conspirators come to the forefront, at no point does this sound like a Shins record with beats or a hip hop record with guitars.
Mercer's knack for twisting and turning melodies is impeccably served by Burton, who tempers and fulfills those melodies with laid-back but elaborate scores of synth, piano, organ and sometimes a full string section, the only instruments not played by Burton or Mercer.
"high Road" is melodic enough, for sure, and Mercer is a clear-voiced singer, but the album's interest palls when Mouse's answer to life, the universe and everything proves to be "pedestrian breakbeat." [Apr 2010, p.83]
MichaelMar 9, 2010Absolutely brilliant! Danger Mouse and James Mercer have created something unique and fantastic. This is the year's best album so far.
MDBMar 11, 2010Best album of the year so far. Sounds like a cross between Shins & Gorillaz, if that makes any sense. Critics like experimental music over anything with melody? That is unfortunate, this is an excellent listen with a cool vibe.… Expand
Mar 2, 2011Broken Bells does take a few listens to actually get into but once you get into it, it's a really good record. James Mercer's dark voice mixes so perfectly well with Brian Burton's producing talent and the result is a dark, unique, well written album. All In All, Broken Bells is something different and also very creative and unique. I recommend. B+… Expand
Jul 25, 2011From the first thirty seconds of the premier track, High Road you know that you're in for a treat. Mercer's twisted vocals against the backdrop that is Burton's excellent production, takes you by the hand and guides you on a humble journey through 21st century alternative indie. The steady rhythm mimics a racing heart that punctuates every line with a smile. Perhaps the synths are too heavy, but not enough to deter from repeat listens.
Each track flows well into one another, maintaining Mercer and Burtonâ… Expand
MattMMar 9, 2010Move along. Nothing to see/hear. The record has good production and some nice, 60's sounds here and there, but nothing memorable or interesting. The Shins' lyrics have never been more than a vehicle for great hooks, but unfortunately the hooks are absent on this record. So, you end up with dull lyrics, dull music and a dull record. It only gets good reviews from some based upon the two members involved in this project. If the Broken Bells were actually Joe Indy and John Pop, you wouldn't be reading this.… Expand
- By user score
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